DUI Apps: From Oh Crap to Mr. Checkpoint and more...



DUI Apps: From Oh Crap to Mr. Checkpoint

There’s apps for all kinds of things these days, including a variety of DUI apps–some free, some for a nominal charge–that find sober rides home, locate DUI checkpoint and promote DUI defense. I’ve listed a few in alphabetical order.

Drive Sober Apps: Free

To promote safety on the roads, some states offer apps to aid those who have been drinking find a sober ride home. Here’s a few:

Kentucky: The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety offers Drive Sober Kentucky app that includes finding a ride, reporting drunk drivers and a blood alcohol estimator.

Wisconsin: The Wisconsin’s Department of Transportation offers a Drive Sober app that offers features similar to Kentucky’s.

Wyoming: The Wyoming Governor’s Council on impaired driving offers its app, Drive Sober Wyoming, which includes features similar to Kentucky’s and Wisconsin’s, as well as a Find a Taxi option.

Mr. Checkpoint: Free

It appears Mr. Checkpoint is available in California only. As its name implies, it provides locations of DUI checkpoints based on the app user’s region. There is also an option on its website to sign up for email alerts that list DUI checkpoints every Friday, Saturday and on holidays.

Oh Crap App: Free

Gotta love the name of this app, and its motto: Shut up, Wise up and Lawyer up.

Apparently DUI lawyers in Iowa first created the Oh Crap App to educate the public about their rights while being investigated for drunk driving, and I’ll also add that the Notify On-Call Attorney is a handy way to drum up business. There is also a Notify a Bail Bondsman function.

I have to wonder if someone who’s been drinking has the wherewithal to read and use this app, but that’s probably why there’s a big red “emergency” button labelled Oh Crap. The advice given to app users is to press this button when pulled over by law enforcement (this starts a 15-minute audio recording that a lawyer may later use).

The Oh Crap App is currently available for Iowa, Kansas and Wisconsin attorneys.

Kaufman

Managing Partner at Shaun Kaufman Law
Shaun Kaufman has 30 years of in-court experience, with hundreds of hours spent defending numerous high-profile cases including homicide, white-collar theft and RICO offenses. Specialties: Criminal defense, personal injury, business litigation, DUI.

Shaun Kaufman Law: 303-309-0430
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Google Glass: Privacy Issues and Backlashes to Glassholes

Photo courtesy of Antonio Zugaldia CC By 3.0

There’s a lot of talk about Google Glass and legalities these days. Let’s look at some of those issues, starting with a description of the device.

What Is Google Glass?

Basically, it is a wearable computer with a camera, microphone and display in the form of eye glasses that the wearer manipulates through voice commands, taps and even winking. The camera sees what the wearer sees, and the wearer can:

  • Record video, audio and photo.
  • Use GPS for location tracking and retrieving directions.
  • Connect to a smartphone for placing calls, texting and email.
Google Glass can connect to the Internet in one of two ways:

Google Glass – Photo courtesy of Mikepanhu CC By-SA 3.0

  • WiFi
  • The wearer’s smartphone.
All recorded data is stored on Google servers “in the cloud.” But even when offline, Google Glass is still able to record pictures and video.

Privacy Issues

It’s bad enough that other people cannot always tell if they are being recorded by Google Glass wearers, but also everything recorded is stored on Google’s servers “in the cloud.” And you know that everything on Google’s servers belongs to Google, right? Wanted to check because drafted email messages stored on Google’s servers were the reason the United States’ former director of the CIA, David Petraeus, resigned in 2012. Petraeus didn’t know that drafts of his emails to his lover were Google’s property.

Facial Recognition Built Into Glass?

According to the Electronic Privacy Information Center, it’s likely that facial recognition software will be built into Google Glass in the near future. That means a wearer can look at you and the Glass’s facial recognition software will “compute” your identity, then dredge up all kinds of information about you, such as your Twitter news feed, Facebook page, which legal blogs you read, and so on.

There currently is a technology patent for a detector that blurs people’s features when a portable camera is in the vicinity. Great, a software product that can thwart Google Glass, right? Sorry, but no. Google is currently seeking a patent for a contact lens Google Glass that would escape any public detection.

While seeking this patent, Google stated on its blog it “won’t add facial recognition features to our products without having strong privacy protections in place.”  Hmm, wonder what those strong privacy protections are. Not so long ago, 38 states, including the District of Columbia, reached a settlement for $7 million with Google over its illegal collection of data from wireless networks, including private WiFi networks of residential Internet users.

Banning Google Glass

Businesses are starting to ban Google Glasses being worn on their premises for liability and security issues. There are also concerns over wearers illegally recording others without their permission in two-party consent states, as well as wearers violating the Wiretap Act. 

Backlashes to “Glassholes”

There have been violent altercations between people not liking their privacy being violated by disrespectful Glass wearers (by the way, the moniker being used for a disrespectful Glass wearer is Glasshole — no, I’m not making that up). Recently, bar patrons in San Francisco and New York have attacked Glass wearers who appeared to be recording others without their permission.

Restaurant Owner Takes Heat for Banning Google Glass

When a restaurant, Feast, in the East Village kicked out a female patron who refused to take off her Google Glass, hundreds of “Glass groupies” rallied against the restaurant, accusing it of being discriminatory against “technology.” Feast’s owner, Brian Ghaw, refused to apologize for kicking out the woman. His customers, Ghaw said, “felt uncomfortable about having somebody who could potentially videotape them.” Ghaw’s restaurant remains a No Google Glass zone to this day.

What Kind of Places Are Banning Google Glass?

According to an article in SEJ, bars are the number entity to ban Google Glass. To read the other nine top spots, check out the article “Top 10 Places That Have Banned Google Glass.”

Interestingly enough, law firms aren’t on that list. Yet, anyway.

Kaufman

Managing Partner at Shaun Kaufman Law
Shaun Kaufman has 30 years of in-court experience, with hundreds of hours spent defending numerous high-profile cases including homicide, white-collar theft and RICO offenses. Specialties: Criminal defense, personal injury, business litigation, DUI.

Shaun Kaufman Law: 303-309-0430
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A Lawyer’s Primer for Writers: From Crimes to Courtrooms – Book Review by Festivale Magazine

Shaun Kaufman and Colleen Collins, authors of A LAWYER’S PRIMER FOR WRITERS

Australian online magazine Festivale reviewed our current nonfiction book A Lawyer’s Primer for Writers: From Crimes to Courtrooms.  Below is the review.

 

A Lawyer’s Primer for Writers (2014)
by Ali Khan, editor, Festivale Magazine 

 

Did you know about courthouse dogs?

Not drug sniffers or law enforcement canines, but dogs that work with defendants and witnesses who need the support of a friendly, assistance-trained dog. They are just one of the many groups who work in American courthouses, and their history and examples of their use are found in A Lawyers Primer for Writers.

This is an indispensable guide for those who want to set scenes in, particularly, the American legal system.

Click on above image to go to book’s Amazon page

Are all defense attorneys unlikeable? How are trials prepared for? What are the steps of a trial? Are breath tests accurate? Can the police lie to you? What are the top five mistakes writers make at a crime scene?

Can you trust the source?

Shaun Kaufman has worked in the criminal justice system for 30 years. Colleen Collins is an author of other writing books and together the authors co-owned a private investigations agency where they specialized in legal investigations.

It’s all good meat for the writing process. Information in this book isn’t just excellent for fact checking, it’s a launch point for ideas for your next story. 

Written in a clear, concise, layperson’s style, A Lawyer’s Primer is highly accessible and a very enjoyable read. It winds up with a dozen films to watch and tips on whether liberties were taken for dramatic effect.

Get it. Read it. Run with it.

Click on cover to go to book’s Amazon page

Link to full review: Festivale Magazine: A Lawyer’s Primer for Writers

“Put together with the user in mind, this intelligently organized handbook for practicing writers will make you sound like a practicing lawyer. Use it to transform your courtroom characters from stereotypes into engaging people.” ~Warwick Downing, former DA in Colorado and author of The Widow of Dartmoor, a sequel to Hound of the Baskervilles

“A LAWYER’S PRIMER FOR WRITERS is an entertaining, knowledgable, must-have research tool for writers of all stripes. I know I’ll be referring to it often!” ~Dennis Palumbo, author of the Daniel Rinaldi mystery series

Kaufman

Managing Partner at Shaun Kaufman Law
Shaun Kaufman has 30 years of in-court experience, with hundreds of hours spent defending numerous high-profile cases including homicide, white-collar theft and RICO offenses. Specialties: Criminal defense, personal injury, business litigation, DUI.

Shaun Kaufman Law: 303-309-0430
 

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Former ATF Agent Jay Dobyns Wins His Case Against the Government

 

Back in March, I wrote a blog about ATF agents who were suing the government, which began:

ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — on their official website, they still go by the abbreviation ATF) special agent Jay Dobyns worked undercover in the Hell’s Angels gang.  After finishing this undercover job, he and his family received death threats, among other horrific threats, and eventually his Arizona home was burned to the ground while Dobyns was out of town. Fortunately, his wife and children, who were sleeping inside the home, survived.  (To read the full blog article, click here)

This week, former ATF special agent Jay Dobyns won his case against the government.

U.S. Government Ordered to Pay Dobyns $173,000

Judge Francis Allegra ordered the government to pay Dobyns $173,000, and threw out the government’s claim against Dobyns for writing about being the first federal agent to infiltrate the inner circle of the outlaw Hells Angels Motorcycle Club in his New York Times best selling book, No Angel, My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells AngelsThe judge also threw out the government’s claim against Dobyns for producing a movie about his ATF experiences.

If the movie takes off the way his book did, Dobyns could become a Hollywood star.  But to many of his ATF peers, he already was one. While active as a special agent, Dobyns earned the ATF Distinguished Service Medal and the prestigious Top Cops award. In an article written by fellow ATF agent Vincent A. Cefalu in TickletheWire.com, Dobyns remained loyal to the agency and its personnel despite the hardships Dobyns and his family endured after he became a whistleblower:

Throughout these years, Agent Dobyns continued to do what “The Bird” does. He continued to offer his expertise in undercover operations to his fellow Agents as well as outside State and Local Agency’s. Dobyns was a coveted speaker and trainer in all walks of law enforcement and even military training environments. With very public disputes with ATF swirling, Dobyns continued his infectious praises for the Agency and its personnel he loved.

(Link to full article: “ATF Agent Says Goodbye to Legendary Fellow Agent Jay Dobyns”)

Judge Found Two ATF Officials Not Credible

In his ruling, Judge Allegre found the testimonies of two of Dobyns’ superiors in the ATF Arizona office to be “not credible.” More than that, the judge said one of the supervisors, George Gillette, “lied” about the arson that burned down Dobyns home (while his wife and children were inside — fortunately, they escaped).  Gillette is no longer an active agent, in fact he’s under investigation for illegally selling a gun that turned up in a Mexico crime scene where a Mexican beauty queen was killed.

If all of this wasn’t documented in court records and the press, it would sound like a fiction story, wouldn’t it? That’s exactly what Judge Allegre thought as well when he described some of the courtroom testimony he heard as being “a remarkable tapestry of fiction.”

In Jay Dobyns’ Own Words

Jay Dobyns has posted his reactions and thoughts at his site JayDobynsGroup.com. Also posted there are pictures of his legal team, his home after the arson, and images of his family, fallen border agent Brian Terry and this saying:

The truth is like a lion.

You don’t have to defend it.

Turn it loose, and it will defend itself.

 

Kaufman

Managing Partner at Shaun Kaufman Law
Shaun Kaufman has 30 years of in-court experience, with hundreds of hours spent defending numerous high-profile cases including homicide, white-collar theft and RICO offenses. Specialties: Criminal defense, personal injury, business litigation, DUI.

Shaun Kaufman Law: 303-309-0430

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Lawyers and Private Investigators: A Symbiotic Relationship

The close, symbiotic relationship between investigators and lawyers can be challenging because PIs and attorneys often have different work styles, training and professional objectives.

Approaches, Backgrounds and Goals

One difference in PIs’ and lawyers’ work styles is that many investigators work alone.  Although some attorneys also work alone, many work in cooperation with other lawyers and legal staff members.

PIs and lawyers have also experienced different types of training. Some private investigators may have very little training, such as those who work in unlicensed states, of which there are five in the U.S., including my own state of Colorado (not to say that all unlicensed PIs lack training and skills — I’ve known many investigators in my state who are ethical, professional and immensely skilled).  In contrast, some investigators have extensive backgrounds in accounting, law enforcement, computer science, even psychology. Attorneys, on the other hand, earn doctorate degrees and must pass a grueling bar exam that covers every aspect of the law.

Additionally, PIs and attorneys have different professional objectives. A PI has a vested financial interest in completing work tasks and issuing his/her invoice. Lawyers are on a different time clock, where the best resolution for the client may take months, sometimes years.

How a PI Can Nurture the Attorney-Client Relationship

I’ve worked within the criminal justice system for 30 years, the majority of that time as a criminal defense lawyer. For a decade I also co-owned a legal investigations agency, during which my wife (my business partner) and myself wrote the blog Guns, Gams and Gumshoes, which has been recognized by Ellery Queen magazine as one of the top three true-crime blogs, and has been twice noted by the American Library Association’s Booklist Online as its “Web Crush of the Week” during its annual mystery month. Guns, Gams and Gumshoes is still going strong, by the way — to check it out, click here.

In one of our blog posts on Guns, Gams and Gumshoes, we wrote how a PI can build a constructive, successful relationship with a lawyer, based on our firsthand experiences. Below are those tips:

Tip #1: PIs should be prepared, timely and succinct. Attorneys are busy people who are juggling dozens, sometimes hundreds of clients. When a PI schedules a meeting with an attorney, he/she should bring an agenda, reports and important evidence. Be on time — punctuality is a courtesy to anyone, be it an attorney-client or your other investigation clients. Don’t ramble on at meetings — be succinct and to the point. Both of you are professionals who are handling important client matters.

Tip #2Focus your investigative products. Lawyers don’t pay investigators for their opinions and speculations about what judges and juries will do — lawyers pay for facts and evidence. Make sure your investigative reports, both oral and written, scrupulously adhere to agreed-upon investigative strategies and goals defined by you and your attorney-client. For example, if an attorney requests for you to learn the color of a specific vehicle that a witness saw, focus on obtaining that evidence — don’t gather extraneous data such as the neighborhood where the observation occurred or the color of other vehicles in the area!

Tip #3: Be knowledgeable about the legal basics of what you’re investigating. When a PI works for a lawyer, the investigator should have an understanding of the legal basics in that attorney’s area of the law. For example, if a PI works for a family law attorney, the PI should understand such family law doctrines as child custody guidelines and no-fault/fault divorces (depending on the state the PI and lawyer practice in). If a PI conducts criminal defense investigations, he/she should understand the principles of criminal culpability. There are numerous ways for a PI to understand legal fundamentals, from taking a course at a community college to obtaining certification through the National Association of Legal Investigators (NALI).

Kaufman

Managing Partner at Shaun Kaufman Law
Shaun Kaufman has 30 years of in-court experience, with hundreds of hours spent defending numerous high-profile cases including homicide, white-collar theft and RICO offenses. Specialties: Criminal defense, personal injury, business litigation, DUI.

Shaun Kaufman Law: 303-309-0430
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